Letters to the Editor

Peace promoter has known war

I was pleased to see a reply to my letter to the editor from someone in the military (Whidbey News-Times, Nov. 17) especially one with such a long and distinguished career as the writer, Lyle F. Bull, Rear Admiral, USN (Ret.). My story is quite simple in comparison, but perhaps in sharing mine, I can clear up some erroneous assumptions made concerning me.

I experienced war from the perspective of a child of six in England in 1939 living through the Blitz and bombing of London. Our home was in the East End of London, near the heaviest bombardment. My play places were in bombed-out buildings and my brother and I were very pleased when we found some food that had not been eaten by rats. Very soon thereafter the children of the working poor were evacuated to the country so that the mothers could work in the armament factories. There were not many full stomachs during those years.

As a young woman I immigrated to Canada and joined the Royal Canadian Air Force where I served for three years. After marriage and family, we moved to the U.S. where the electronic and computer industries were recruiting workers from Canada. We became U.S. citizens as soon as we could in order to fully participate in the government of our new country. Our son joined the U.S. Navy when he was 18 and served six years as a submariner. As you can see, Rear-Admiral (Ret.) Bull, I am not anti-military.

As far as the figures I quoted on the military budget, my source was the War Resisters League (www.warrestisters.org). This website shows a credible pie-chart which is worth checking out. The figure quoted by Rear Admiral (Ret.) Bull is the standard government number. The recently published findings of the bi-partisan commission on debt reduction seem to confirm the need to reduce military spending. One of the members made the comment in recent days that ‘for every dollar spent in this country, we borrow 40 cents.” We are a debtor nation and need to address our glaring deficit from many angles.

We are probably miles apart in our thinking on this subject, Rear Admiral (Ret.) Bull, but of course I had such a different perspective as I grew up. I do not believe we can fight our way out of this “war on terror” but only by peaceful means. We cannot be the world’s policeman and, in fact, our military presence in many countries is the cause of most of our casualties. Every time our drones (electronic warfare planes) hit another innocent family (we call it collateral damage) hatred for the United States grows. My sympathies are with the innocent women and children who are pawns in the never ending game of war. Another of our slogans is: War is expensive – Peace is Priceless.

Peggy Burton


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